Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Mexico Activists to Rally in Support of Releasing More Mexican Gray #Wolves

Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, August 25, 2015
Contact:  Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017
Mary Katherine Ray, (575) 772-5655

New Mexico Activists to Rally in Support of Releasing More Mexican Gray Wolves
Activists Also Call on Commission to Reject Cougar Trapping, Increased Bear Hunting

SANTA FE, N.M.— Wildlife supporters will rally Thursday morning to call on the New Mexico Game Commission to support the federal government's release of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Gila National Forest in southern New Mexico. Activists are also urging the commission to vote down two separate proposals: one that would allow cougar trapping and another allowing a 25 percent increase in hunting permits for black bears. In May the commission declined to renew a 17-year permit to Ted Turner's Ladder Ranch to pen Mexican gray wolves for release into New Mexico.

“I'm deeply concerned that the New Mexico Game Commission is becoming increasingly hostile to predators, even though there’s such broad public support for recovering beautiful Mexican gray wolves and protecting cougars and bears,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Complaints from the livestock industry in large part drive the commission’s antipathy toward animals at the top of the food chain — but wolves, bears and cougars each play important roles in sustaining the web of life.”

There were only 53 Mexican wolves in New Mexico at last count, and biologists have long urged the release of wolves from captive facilities to diversify the gene pool of wild wolves, which are inbred and experiencing low reproductive success as a result.

Conservationists oppose killing more cougars and bears because they are vital to natural ecosystems and their numbers in New Mexico are not known.

“New Mexico Game and Fish’s reckless proposal to kill even more bears goes against sound wildlife management and conservation,” said Mary Katherine Ray of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. “The black bear is New Mexico’s state mammal and deserves better. Moreover, the setting of cruel traps for cougars for sport would be a giant step backward for our state.”

The rally for Mexican gray wolves, cougars and bears will start at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27 outside the Santa Fe Community College, 6401 Richards Ave. The game commission meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the college’s Jemez Room.

Speakers at the rally will include Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Chair and former Santa Fe Mayor David Coss; former federal Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator David Parsons; and Michael Robinson, author and wolf activist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Silver City.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, Robinson will present a slide show, free and open to the public, about Mexican gray wolves at the Santa Fe Public Library, 145 Washington Ave., in Santa Fe. Ray will discuss cougars and bears, and Roxanne George of Mexicanwolves.org will speak about the workings of wildlife protection.

Thursday’s rally is organized by the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, Mexicanwolves.org, Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, Southwest Environmental Center and WildEarth Guardians.

What: Pro-wildlife rally before Game Commission meeting.
When: 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 27.
Where: Outside Santa Fe Community College, 6401 Richards Ave., Santa Fe.
Who: Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Chair and former Santa Fe Mayor David Coss; former federal Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator David Parsons; and Michael Robinson, author and wolf activist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Silver City.
Background
The New Mexico Game Commission will vote on whether to initiate a trapping and snaring season for cougars on private and state lands, even though cougars are already heavily hunted and play an important role as part of their ecosystems. The commission will also vote on whether to boost the number of annual black bear hunting permits by 25 percent, from 640 to 804, despite declining hunter success that may indicate fewer bears. And it will rule on whether to allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Gila National Forest. Conservationists maintain that the federal government need not ask permission.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.